Tiny Memoirs

A five-week guided writing group for turning your unforgettable memories into evocative mini memoirs that will captivate your readers.
(Jun. 23-Jul. 28, 2019)

Turn Your Unforgettable Memories into Evocative Mini Memoirs Your Readers Will Love

Tiny Memoirs is a unique, thematic writing experience designed to get you to tease out and write your most evocative personal stories on intriguing topics such as motherhood, home, food, travel, and cherished objects in just five weeks. 

This online writing group you can participate from the comfort of your home consists of five different modules each of which explores one gripping theme through personal essays that will work your imagination and writing prompts that will get your words flowing. 

The daily essays and prompts will provide fertile ground for going deeper into your stories—and may even open up a greater understanding of yourself and how you want to tell your story. And the act of writing together with other women will transform the way you approach writing authentic pieces based on your life story and personal experience.

Each week's material includes :

  • Five stimulating personal essays I wrote specifically for this program on the weekly theme,
  • Five unique writing prompts crafted to complement each essay, awaken your creative muse and tease out your most essential stories on the weekly topic,
  • Inspiring visuals complementing the written material (some of which are the courtesy of professional artists who were delighted to have their photos paired with some of the essays and prompts),
  • An invitation to get your ideas and memories (inspired by what you read) out of your head and onto your paper.
"Writing. Stamina. I love this experience. Our writing is becoming a string of stories that paint a much larger picture. The words are flowing and they just won’t stop. Maybe I will write that book some day!"
SUE ANN GLEASON, Writer & Nourishment Guide
“I’ve never found such an accepting space to write truth in. This is unlike anything I’ve ever done! I’ve been telling everyone just how amazing, wonderful, inspiring this is. I’ve never written such raw, open stories before.”
JACKIE ROBERTS, Psychotherapist

Juicy Weekly Themes That Will Stimulate Your Writing

WEEK 1: "Edible Memories"
We'll enjoy five field trips down memory lane in our first week, looking for juicy, delicious morsels of writing inspiration. As we tell our food-related stories, we'll also explore food as a metaphor and a feast for memory—food that inspires, nourishes, seduces, and connects. From soul food to aphrodisiac food, from slow food to exotic delicacies, and from appetite to hunger, we'll discuss how food and our memories of food influence our lives and shape our experience of being human.

WEEK 2: "Passport to Memory"
A travel into the world is often a voyage into the self, the heart and the essence of the human soul. Isn’t that why it's impossible to recall a journey you haven’t returned from unchanged? Our travel memories are more than reminiscences of trips, vacations and expeditions. Journeys can also be pathways to courage, mystery, exploration, understanding, hope, connection, and change. In our second week, we'll delve into our memories of travel while we also explore the inner quests those memories conjure up.

WEEK 3: "No Place Like Home"
It's hard to find another subject that is as charged as “home,” and it's the theme for our third week. Home is never just an address, a building, or the sum of walls, doors, windows, and the pieces of furniture filling the space in between. Home is about shared memories that are loaded with emotion. Home is also a powerful metaphor and a rich writing topic that promises a myriad different stories, each with a twist of its own and each holding a key to the person you are today.

WEEK 4: "Mother, May I?"
Is there any relationship more complicated than the one we have with our mothers as well as the one with our children? In our fourth week, we'll explore five different ways of writing about mothers and motherhood. Whether you're close to your mother, distant, or somewhere between, and whether you're a mother or not yourself, few other subjects offer as much opportunity to mine your experience for stories worth telling.

WEEK 5: "Reminiscentia"
Reminiscentia is a Latin word which means "objects that induce reminiscence." In our fifth and last week, we'll go on a hunt for cherished memorabilia—objects that either hold tender, unforgettable memories or that work our imagination and unleash our power to tell stories. You'll be surprised to witness the kind of writing that unfolds when you write with such objects as your anchors.
“This class is a great way of gathering content for a memoir. What a wonderful experience and a fantastic collection of writing!”
JACKEE HOLDER, Executive Coach
"This class is unlike anything I have experienced. It has unleashed many words that needed a meadow to romp in without fear. Think about it."
TERRI JACKSON, Photographer

A Unique Writing Experience You Will Never Forget

Focused...
You'll concentrate on exploring one intriguing theme each week and tease out your juiciest stories by exploring rich metaphors and the different facets of a riveting topic. You can write daily with the prompts, or you can read all of the weekly material at once, choose one or two prompts that draws you the most, and write.

Spacious...
There’s no overwhelm or the need to keep up with the group writing commitment. On the other hand, your experience will be more rewarding if you share your writing with your writing companions, following the structure of this journey to turn your memories into moving personal pieces.

Liberating...
This work will get you to express your deepest creative self. You'll be cultivating creativity and meaning through the places you find within yourself as you dig into each writing theme. The stories you'll allow yourself to write and share will astound you. 

Bountiful...
This is your chance to unearth and develop multiple beautiful stories. You'll complete this program with a series of unique pieces of writing that can stand alone or form the basis of a longer piece such as a memoir. The essays some of the participants wrote during the previous sessions of this group were accepted by various publications. Other participants used their work as seeds for a memoir they’re writing, or published them on their blog and received much praise.

Creatively empowering...
I designed this writing program as a hands-on experience to get you to deepen your writing practice and strengthen your writing muscle while enjoying the entire process with wonderful writing companions who will be your biggest cheerleaders. You'll practice moving your pen, unleash your voice, cultivate the confidence to share your writing, and grow as a writer.
“I wake up in the middle of the night, and I check my phone for new writings. I wake up in the morning and read more pieces over my breakfast. I love each and every single contribution I’ve read. I want more. I check my phone through the day, not wanting to miss a word. We are ourselves here, we are our authentic selves.”
SUE SHOBERT JORGENSON, Spiritual Guide, Healer & Writer
“After participating in Cigdem’s writing groups, my way of thinking about certain challenges and obstacles in my life has shifted. And I’ve developed a new mental approach and attitude to deal with them. This event is an opportunity to put ourselves first for a change.”
LEERAY COSTA, Cultural Anthropologist & Professor

How It Works & How We Write Together

I run the live session of this program only once a year. This year's group space opens on June 23, allowing you to step in and get to know the other participants. You also get access to the Welcome & Introduction module the same day. The writing experience officially begins on June 24 as the first week's material unlocks. 

A new module will unlock every seven days, so you can follow this structure without getting distracted and can focus on one writing theme and one experience at a time. Each time a new module unlocks, you'll receive an email notification to the email address you enrolled with. Once you register, you have forever-access to this class. So you can always come back here and work with the material as many times as you want.

After you write on your own using a prompt, I'll invite you to come back here and post your writing under the related section so that we can all read it. Of course, if you want to take the writing material and work with it quietly on your own, that's okay, too.

This spirited writing immersion is rich enough to inspire your muse and get you to write some of your most moving stories and short enough to preclude overwhelm. This unique writing experience is for you if:

  • You have many personal stories you’d like to turn into essays, articles or memoirs, but you don't know what to begin with, so you'd benefit from writing with different themes to mine your most evocative stories and would love having motivating ways to get them onto paper.
  • You love writing and always look for new ways to move your pen (even if you don’t call yourself a writer!) 
  • You love writing with a group and enjoy the inspiring, stimulating environment of a live, online writing experience that allows you to connect with others who write.
  • You desire to move your pen regularly and want to develop a consistent writing practice that will enrich the work you do in the world.
  • Getting better at writing and sharing honest, personal stories and finding your true voice as a result will make a huge difference in how you connect with the people you want to reach and help.
“I am not a writer, I don’t consider myself one. Not to mention that walls of texts make me dizzy. But Cigdem’s writing groups completely changed my relationship with writing. For the first time in my life, I wrote with company. Some writers were beginners, like me, some well into their game. There were no lessons in this group, only prompts that made the stories race on the page. It was amazing to see how connections were made based on each other’s writing. Telling the truth with bravery became a ping pong-we each helped each other dare more, reveal more, and be alive more. Writing as a group was an experience part writing, part healing, and part party. I am confident about my voice now when it comes to personal storytelling. I am not afraid of writing anymore, and I even enjoy it. I am able to tackle larger pieces with a more critical eye, and I have become a better editor. Not only that, I also decided that a memoir is in order soon, something that never crossed my mind before, ever."
MONICKA CLIO SAKKI, Creativity Mentor
“This writing program provides a huge opening to explore and navigate my own thoughts and then create from them. Cigdem’s stories never fail to start a little tornado, a good tornado, of muses and reflections, forming the words that eventually get put down. At times I write off the top of my head, unedited, and other times, it takes some thought and framing before I write. I love it all and that it happens in community rather than solitary space makes it all the richer an experience. There is beautiful authenticity and vulnerability that come through in the words of other members. I feel increased confidence in my writing by the responses I receive. I also see myself more clearly through my responses to the writing of others. I have noticed that it is often not so much about the writing as the person. I can imagine that in some ways it is the combination of the weekly activities that sets this group apart from others… writing, individual voices and life coming together so beautifully.”
DAWN SULLY PILE, Writer & Co-Active Coach

Special Bonuses for Tiny Memoirs Writers

To celebrate the opening of the Story Arts Studio, we're giving each person who participates in this session of  Tiny Memoirs fantastic bonus gifts. Here's what you can win by participating: 

  • Each person who signs up gets a free bonus seat for my yearlong writing and journaling program A Year with Myself, which includes 52 original prompts written exclusively for you by 52 remarkable guest instructors including Patti Digh, Jennifer Louden, Tara Mohr, Susannah Conway, Jac McNeil, Heather Plett, Randi Buckley, and more. You will get your coupon for 100% off on the last day of Tiny Memoirs. (VALUE: $299)
  • Each participant who posts in the group at least one piece for each of the five writing themes gets the above PLUS the opportunity to be considered as a contributor for the Stories from the Interior anthology series that will be coming out from the upcoming Story Arts Press, the sister company of the Story Arts Studio that is in development process. (VALUE: Priceless)
  • Each participant who writes and posts in the group at least three pieces for each of the five themes gets all of the above PLUS a beautifully designed PDF ebook that brings together five of their mini memoirs as a digital gift they can share with their loved ones, gift their readers or use as a practical document that showcases their work as a writer.
  • Each participant who writes and posts in the group five pieces for each of the five themes gets all of the above PLUS a free seat for the Story Arts Book Camp, which will take place this fall, and have the opportunity and support to end the year with a fine first draft of their book delightfully completed. (VALUE: $598)
“I have been thrilled by the chance to experience this whole different way of thinking about writing. Deeply personal, evocative and inspiring. Thank you for the experience of the daily prompts and inspiration. The whole course has been so beautiful in its structure and detail. Thank you for the richness of your unique creativity and care.”
CATHERINE DREA, Photographer, Writer & Social Entrepreneur
“These essays and prompts have taken me so much deeper than I foresaw, much is churning within, and it is timely. I have been writing privately and hope to have time to share here—there is much to be gained by sharing. I love coming here to answer the questions. They often give me a different perspective. Thank you!”

MARY McCONNELL, Well-Being Therapist & Energy Healer,

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time do I need each day to write?

10-20 minutes a day is enough for most of us. We're all busy folks and have a huge list of things to do and people to take care of every single day. Many of us dedicate about 15 minutes a day to their writing. All writing counts. And everything is progress. You'll hear those two things over and over again in the Story Arts community. If you don't have 10-15 minutes, start with just five minutes a day. :)

Is this a live writing group or a self-study program?

This is a live writing group. The current session begins this June, and enrollment is open now. On June 23rd the door opens, and on the 24th we officially start writing together! The program takes place online, so you can write and participate from the comfort of your home. Hundreds of women who joined Tiny Memoirs since 2015 have unleashed their writing through this program. Don't miss your chance to reserve your seat before the registration period ends and this unique writing group experience begins.

How present and accessible are you in the group?

Very. This is one of the elements that make my programs different from a multitude of other writing groups. I'm always fully present in each and every group. I read all of the writing you post and respond to you. There is an element of active, genuine participation in all Story Arts writing groups. Also, this is a close-knit community filled with repeat participants. It's the best place to further your writing especially if you're an introverted creator. You can read about the experience of previous participants here.

How do we share our writing?

During the live session, we have a secret Facebook group where you'll be invited to post your writing and read what others share with the group. The group will be archived one week after the live session ends.

Will you offer feedback on my writing?

I read and respond to each piece each participant posts in this group (while the live group is running.) However, I won't provide writing critiques. This is not a writing workshop focused on craft. And we won't be providing writing critiques as much as personal reflections on each other’s pieces. This group has two goals: (1) to get you to develop a consistent writing practice (because your writing matters), (2) to get you to write authentic, evocative, personal pieces by teasing out the kind of memories you can expand into longer published pieces such as personal essays and memoirs (because your story matters).

Is this a good fit for a total beginner or an experienced writer?

It is. We have participants with all sorts of backgrounds and all levels of writing experience. The number-one focus of this group is to mine your most evocative stories and turn them into authentic, moving pieces. Other side effects of participating in the group are developing your writing practice, finding your voice, and unleashing your words in the company of other women who are fired up to do the same.

I don't call myself a writer. Can I still join?

Of course! As long as you love writing, have stories to tell, and want to develop your writing practice for whatsoever reason (creative expression, self-discovery, publishing your work, expanding your readership,  healing—you name it!) you'll enjoy and benefit from the Tiny Memoirs experience. 

Who will see the writing I post and share in the group?

Only the other registered participants in the group and no one else.

Do I have to be on my computer to access the class material?

You can log in to the Story Arts Studio and access all writing material from your desktop computer, your notebook, your tablet, and even your smart phone. It is an  extremely user-friendly writing space.

I'm introverted. Will I be overwhelmed?

The Story Arts Studio is a "should-free" environment.  I designed it with introverted and highly sensitive women creators in mind. There is no need to "keep up" with anything if you don't want to. And a period of laying low might be followed by one of commenting and writing prolifically.

Can I write on my own and skip sharing and commenting in the group?

Of course. We have participants who share their writing in the group as well as others who write quietly on their own. Group participation will deepen your Tiny Memoirs experience, but it's up to you. Even if you write on your own, you'll still get a ton of value. You're free to take what you like and need and do just that. We have many introverts among the group (including myself, your host and the Studio founder) and we understand that writing sometimes needs a deeper kind of quiet and solitude. Just come in and have a taste of our community and writing groups!

Is this writing group really only for women?

For women and for anyone who identifies as a woman. Not just cis women, but trans women, femme/feminine-identifying genderqueer, non-binary folks are all welcome.

How long do I have access to the class material?

The entire class material is neatly organized here in the Story Arts Studio, where you have easy, forever access to it even after our live session ends. You can come back here to use the class material to create new writing as many times you want.

How do I pay?

You can use the button at the top of this page to pay with PayPal or your credit card.

Do you offer refunds?

I'll be happy to offer you a full refund within 48 hours of your purchase with no questions asked. No refunds are available after 48 hours. Please read all sections of this page carefully, read how previous participants in my writing groups describe their experience, and make a conscious purchase decision.
“I don’t consider myself a writer, but I do have a story to tell. This writing class has been a nudge to venture into an unknown place. Writing has clarified some of the conflicted feelings I have with myself. Deep, deep gratitude for you, Cigdem.”
ANNE LARSON BUCK, Artist
"Cigdem creates a vibrant space for women's voices in a world that feels increasingly hostile to them. With creative prompts and exercises, she encouraged me to open up and explore not only what I believe, but why I believe it."
BRIDGETT MCKINNEY JENSEN, Writer

What's included

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Contents

INTRODUCTION & HOW-TO
Welcome & How to Begin
A Few Tips Related to Our Writing Process
How to Share Your Writing
Say Hi & Introduce Yourself
WEEK 1: "Edible Memories"
Food and Childhood
Food and Longing
Food and Freedom
Food and Generosity
Food and Pleasure
WEEK 2: "Passport to Memory"
One-Way Ticket
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
In Your Dreams
The Getaway
Lost in Translation
WEEK 3: "No Place Like Home"
Imaginary Homeland
On the Move Again
Tiny House
Better Homes and Gardens
Home Alone
WEEK 4: Mother, May I?
The Hair
The Meal
The Help
The Ride
The Shoes
About the Contributing Photographers
WEEK 5: "Reminiscentia"
Something Preserving a Connection
Something That Belonged to Another
Something Captivating with Beauty
Something Retaining Love
Something Slightly Magical
“My heart is leaping out of my chest, Cigdem! This is so amazing for my logical brain and I can play so well with my creativity/writing with this framework. Thanks for this.”
AARATHI SELVAN, Clinical Psychologist & Mindfulness Guide
“This writing group has been so powerful—it’s surprised me. I’m eager to complete it, and to go back and read all I’ve missed. Such incredible richness in this group. Thank you.”
VICKY B. WHITE, Photographer